The Politics of Gender Equality in South Korea

  • Young-Im Lee,
  • Min Hee Go

Gender politics were a front and center issue in South Korea's March 9th presidential election. What does the outsized role that anti-feminism played in electoral politics and public discourse convey about the politics of gender in Korea today? This panel will examine contemporary public perception and institutional tolerance of gender equality in South Korea and provide a historical overview of women's numerical and substantive political representation since women's suffrage in 1948. The panelists will also draw on their experiences conducting multi-country studies to provide comparative regional insight.


Young-Im Lee
Young-Im Lee is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at California State University, Sacramento, where she teaches gender politics and East Asian politics. Her research primarily focuses on gender and elections in South Korea and Taiwan. Dr. Lee is a chief researcher at the Institute of Political Studies at Sogang University in Seoul and was a visiting scholar at National Chengchi University in Taiwan. Her research has been supported by the Academy of Korean Studies, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan, and the American Political Science Association. Dr. Lee is currently working on a book project analyzing the election and impeachment of South Korea's first female president Park Geun-hye. Her research appeared in Electoral Studies, Politics & Gender, Feminist Media Studies, and Washington Post, among other outlets.

portrait of Min Hee Go
Min Hee Go is an Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Ewha Woman's University in Korea. Prior to joining Ewha, Dr. Go earned her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 2012 and taught as assistant professor at Brooklyn College, the City University of New York. Her research interests broadly concern key issues in diversity and sustainability, including gender and racial inequalities and sustainable development. Her first book, Rethinking Community Resilience: The Politics of Disaster Recovery in New Orleans (2021, NYU Press), investigates how civic capacity may compromise, rather than facilitate, the process of building resilience after crisis. She is currently working on her second book project which examines gender equality in East Asia. Focusing on three democratic countries—Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan— she investigates why Asian countries show different levels of public perception and institutional tolerance on gender equality. 

Moderator: Kelsi Caywood, Research Associate in Korea Program at APARC, Stanford University